Mets Game 109: Loss to Marlins

Marlins 7 Mets 3

For the second consecutive game, the Mets came back in the ninth inning to tie the ballgame, thanks to a homerun off of the opposing team’s closer. And for the second consecutive game, they couldn’t convert that momentum shift into a victory.

Mets Game Notes

I was all ready to write this post tabbing Lucas Duda as the hero. If you’ve been following here for a while you know I keep suggesting that he’ll do something “big”, and in this game he did. Marlins closer Leo Nunez gave Lucas a 96-MPH, waist-high fastball over the middle of the plate (it looked like something Bobby Parnell might serve up) and Duda made him pay for the mistake, sending the pitch into orbit. OK, maybe not orbit, but it did wind up over the centerfield fence — and in a hurry. But then Jason Isringhausen came on in the top of the tenth to give up a grand slam and ruin everything. Oh well.

So, one of the supposed reasons that the Mets didn’t trade Izzy was so he could mentor Parnell and Pedro Beato. I hope they were passing notes in the classroom and daydreaming instead of paying attention to this lesson.

Mike Pelfrey didn’t pitch poorly, but like Jon Niese a day before him, he didn’t pitch all that great, either. You know how some people say “he pitched well enough to lose” ? Well, Pelfrey pitched well enough for a no-decision. He allowed only 3 runs on 6 hits and 3 walks in a 6-inning stint, but he labored and seemed uncomfortable. The Fish had a baserunner in every one of his innings.

Izzy’s bed-crapping also erased the nice relief work of Ryota Igarashi and Manny Acosta, who combined for three innings of scoreless relief and 5 strikeouts. Acosta, sporting a new ‘doo that made me think of Nino Espinosa, was perfect in his two frames.

On the bright side, Jason Bay went yard — and did it in one of the deepest parts of Citi Cavern, right-center field. So he’s still capable of hitting bombs, he just needs to do it a bit more frequently.

The Mets made a few boo-boos during the game, a few of which were difference-makers in regard to winning or losing the game. For instance, there was Jose Reyes being sent home on a shallow base-hit to right field and getting thrown out by Mike Stanton by 20 feet. He made Stanton look like Dave Parker — which isn’t too difficult when you’re standing about 130 feet from home plate and have a running start. And then there was Dan Murphy fouling up a rundown in the tenth inning that led to the bases-loaded situation. Granted, it was a difficult play for someone who doesn’t have much experience at first base. But this is the problem: Murphy doesn’t have much experience anywhere, except in a batter’s box. It’s really not fair to Murphy, and the remarkable thing is he keeps getting caught in these difficult and glaring situations — it’s as if bad luck is following him. Like Murphy’s Law or something.

Angel Pagan got away with a really numnut move in the bottom of the ninth, when he decided to stretch a single into a double and should’ve been thrown out. He made it, thankfully, setting up Duda’s heroics. But when you are two runs down, it doesn’t make sense to be reckless in your effort to get into scoring position — it was a risk not worth taking. This is why the Mets are a .500 team — because they are reckless as opposed to aggressive (there is a fine line between the two) and their fundamentals overall are lacking. If they had five guys in the lineup who hit bombs, they could get away with little things like this. But they are built in such a way that there is little margin for error — be it physical or mental.

Gaby Sanchez was 2-for-3 with 2 RBI and a run scored, in case you were wondering. He’s like the Wilson Ramos of the Marlins.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Marlins do it again at 7:10 PM in Flushing on Tuesday night. Chris Capuano goes to the hill against Brad Hand.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Jimmy Prinzler August 2, 2011 at 1:52 am
    Its very disturbing that Mets cant win in their own division. I don’t see them in a serious WILD CARD because if you cant beat 4 teams in your divison then you will not get 90 wins because you play each other for 18 games. Until Mets find a way to beat those 4 teams then we’ll talk about wild card. Pagan’s baseball IQ is so way below. He misjudged his running few days ago and he DID NOT made an attempt to throw home, hes in borderline of middle and shallow CF, NO EXCUSE for not even throw. Murphy makes a bonehead play at 1B. Don’t they taught you that part in middle school? Corners at 1B and 3B’s Defense scares me right now with Wright-Murphy. We do miss Davis D in 1B, too obviously to point it out. So sad right now especially after a nice sweep against Reds. 🙁
    • Joe Janish August 2, 2011 at 12:55 pm
      Jimmy, you make a good point about beating teams within the division. In fact I’m running the numbers now and it doesn’t look good; I’m going to create a post around that. Thanks for bringing it up!

      Also good points on the lack of fundamentals. Yes, some of these things should have been taught (and learned) back in middle school or little league.

  2. Tommy2cat August 2, 2011 at 7:04 am
    Not making excuses, but it appeared on a few batters that Pelfrey got squeezed. He had his 2-seamer going against lefties. Reminded me of Rick Reed & Bobby Jones. He didn’t get several calls.

    It bothered me to the extent that I shut the TV off, feeling that negative baseball karma kicking in.

    Glad I didn’t sit through this one – might’ve tossed a Rawlings thru the Samsung.
    _______________________________________

    On a good note, nice to see Duda taking Nunez yard, again.

    Will someone pitch high & tight to Sanchez & Stanton, pleeezzz!!!

    • Joe Janish August 2, 2011 at 1:01 pm
      Pelfrey does tend to get squeezed for at least two reasons. First, because there are times when he doesn’t throw enough strikes to get both himself and the umpire into a rhythm. Yes, umpires are supposed to be better than that but it’s a fact of human nature — if you are calling lots of strikes, your mind starts expecting them, and your eyes may be encouraged to see them.

      The other problem is the receiving style of the two Mets catchers — they are not great at holding strikes as strikes and they sometimes try to “frame” pitches. Framing looks great from the centerfield camera, doesn’t look great from the umpire’s view. Yet, every MLB catcher frames and every catcher is taught to frame. Why? Ignorance. The best plan is to catch the ball when it’s a strike and hold it there — not try to jerk it a few inches toward the middle of the plate. More strikes are lost because of “framing” than are gained.

  3. Walnutz15 August 2, 2011 at 7:44 am
    Last night basically defined everything everyone has ever said about Angel Pagan and Daniel Murphy…..people that actually watch baseball players; and don’t have emotional ties to “homegrown” Met players.

    I think that the current front office will recognize that both players have major warts in their games; and unless absolutely nothing comes down the pike in terms of replacements — both will be shopped during the off-season.

    Hopefully, Alderson will be able to fool someone in the AL into taking Murphy. Pagan’s got great ability; but time and time again shows – he’s gonna wind up hurting us in crucial spots with flat-out stupid blunders….not like he’s 25 anymore. As Met fans love to point out about other players around the league, “he’s on the wrong side of 30” now.

  4. izzy August 2, 2011 at 7:59 am
    I could almost buy into the don’t blame Murphy for his little league defense IF he ran the bases with anything other than little league ability. So is his inability to run the bases also caused by his inability to field which is caused by the Met management moving him around?? He can hit, that’s it. No excuses. This is his second year at first base. He couldn’t play left field!!!! The first 320 hitter to be a liability.
    • Joe Janish August 2, 2011 at 1:04 pm
      I try — hard — to be positive about Murphy. I really want to like him, because it’s clear he’s trying. But you’re right — there shouldn’t be any excuses. This is the big leagues — the place where we are supposed to be seeing the very best baseball players in the universe. Note the term “baseball players”, not “hitters” or “specialists”.
      • Walnutz15 August 2, 2011 at 2:58 pm
        Amen.

        This is why it was an immediate red flag when people began touting lines like “I’m Daniel Murphy, and I bat third” – as if they were badges of honor…..or positives.

        I know I like my players to actually have defensive positions, not sure about anyone else.

      • JoMama August 2, 2011 at 3:29 pm
        Well said. They don’t call is the “bigs” for nothing. All this stuff should be ironed out. Speaking of – where in the world did they teach the left side of our infield to throw sidearm?!?! This, in any sport (I coach lacrosse) is AWFUL – and a very, very difficult habit to break. There are thousands of kids watching thinking David’s sidearm throws to first are “cool” and look awesome – this is so wrong.
  5. Joe August 2, 2011 at 8:40 am
    This game was unforgivably sloppy even without Murphy not taking advantage of a gift that might have cost the game (even loading the bases, one of the remaining outs could have scored on Izzy). Before focusing mainly on him, the other stuff should also be addressed. But, yes, I do think he needs to be traded in the offseason. I don’t see him in as an OF and making him your everyday second baseman … well, I guess that would be where you put him. I rather a real 2nd baseman there. So, trade him and hope his hitting gets you something good in return. I wouldn’t just give him away.

    Reyes made an error. Wright AGAIN made a bad throw that cost a run. The third base coach cost the team a run (probably) by sending a runner (there was one out; after forcing a second, Murphy hit a fly ball that Reyes might have scored on). Pagan’s questionable baserunning.

    The above was a two run swing and Pagan could have cost them more. It is distasteful that the Mets can’t beat the Marlins and Nats in these games. Two runs scored in two games vs. Nats and now this mess. The Mets will have a lousy August if they keep this b.s. up.

    Pelfrey’s start was nothing to write home about but particularly given he was hurt by Wright’s error [making them not scoring fairly unlikely], him giving you two earned in six is not bad. He fought through and given his inability to that in other games, it was somewhat commendable on that level.

    • Joe Janish August 2, 2011 at 1:15 pm
      If Murphy can continue to hit .300+ AND develop more HR power (i.e., 15-20 HR a year) AND become a strong defender at 1B, then he could be a regular first baseman. But that’s a lot of “ifs”.

      I think that an everyday 1B can be a liability on the basepaths and not be a great power hitter as long as he can hit .300+ AND give the team solid to excellent defense. Mark Grace comes to mind, as does Rafael Palmeiro before the steroids, Sid Bream (though he’s a step down offensively), Doug Mientkiewicz (before he turned 30), and more recently Casey Kotchman and James Loney. But all of those guys have/had great gloves. Maybe if the Mets committed to making Murphy a first baseman, he could develop defensively, but it’s getting late in his career for that and there is the matter of Ike Davis.

      • Joe August 2, 2011 at 2:06 pm
        I think on this team, Murphy, at this moment, is someone we can deal with. But, if we had Ike Davis, he wouldn’t be at First Base. I like Murphy — somewhat irrationally given his lack of instincts, but I do. After all, net, you get more from him than some other everyday players. But, unless you are going to trade Ike Davis, I question keeping him in ’12.

        I think he can be his Roger Ramjet self on some other team at 1st Base too (or some place else) and the team should be able to get a useful piece or two for him. We shall see.

  6. gary s. August 2, 2011 at 9:58 am
    Pelf at best is a 6 inning pitcher who aims the ball, amd can’t pitch to contact.What 3rd base is going to stop reyes from trying to score from 2nd on a single?Stanton just made a great throw.I’ve commented before, that murphy is a modern day marvelous marv throneberry.Last night just proved my point.He was born to DH.Hopefully that’s what he will be doing next year.Right now, too many players are making mistakes.Murphy and Pagan have a lot of company.Did any one notice besides me that when thole came into game in the 10th, it seemed like he dropped or missed every other pitch.I wonder if that threw off Izzy’s timing?Nobody talks much about thole, but he is horrible behind the dish.Can’t fault Pelfrey for not wanting to pitch to him
    • Joe Janish August 2, 2011 at 1:19 pm
      Marvelous Marv and Daniel Murphy are the only two first basemen in Mets history to lose a ground ball in the sun, right? 🙂

      I have to agree with you on Thole. He has no balance in his stance and as a result his receiving mechanics are poor. And I’ve been talking about his for two years now and not much has changed, because the way the Mets have him set up back there he has to rely almost exclusively on his god-given athleticism — which isn’t bad, but isn’t at the level of, say, Jerry Grote.

  7. Fire Gary S August 2, 2011 at 1:51 pm
    Pelf at best is a 6 inning pitcher
    Not awful. That’s 2/3 of the game, sometimes more when away and losing.

    who aims the ball
    True, usually near the white pentagon some twenty yards from the white rectangle: presumably on the advice of Daniel Warthen.

    , amd [sic, unless you mean Advanced Micro Devices, in which case this clause of the sentence is accurate] can’t pitch to contact.
    You must mean he misses a lot of bats. [checks Mike Pelfrey’s K%] LIAR!

    What 3rd base is going to stop reyes from trying to score from 2nd on a single?
    I don’t know Gary. In my day, 3rd bases were taught to just lie there and try not to interfere with any play, save for the occasional grounder up the line. Haha, first and third bases have always gotten a kick out of wreaking havoc on those.

    Stanton just made a great throw.
    Oh that Mike Stanton, always making great throws when just plain decent, or even substandard, throws would’ve accomplished the same job.

    I’ve commented before,
    Me too!! a/s/l?

    that murphy is a modern day marvelous marv throneberry.
    All those legions of fans wearing “Leinad” shirts.

    Last night just proved my point.He was born to DH.
    Its funny, I always have this debate with my colleagues: one space or two after punctuation?

    Hopefully that’s what he will be doing next year.
    OMG, you think Selig will let the Mets do that?

    Right now, too many players are making mistakes.Murphy and Pagan have a lot of company.
    I agree, lot of mistakes. So maybe this is an ironic post?

    Did any one notice besides me that when thole came into game in the 10th, it seemed like he dropped or missed every other pitch.
    Just you, but I bet you have on of those high-definition television boxes. All I saw was the occasional glimpse of intertwined bodies between fuzzy lines. (I swear dad, I’m watching the game!).

    I wonder if that threw off Izzy’s timing?
    Definitely, I wonder if we can ask the official scorekeeper to give Thole the loss?

    Nobody talks much about thole, but he is horrible behind the dish.
    Hmm, thole, thole…nope, not ringing a bell.

    Can’t fault Pelfrey for not wanting to pitch to him
    Srsly, but between Thole and contact, Pelf is running out of things that he can’t pitch to.

    [sorry Gary, I don’t like losing streaks.]

    • gary s. August 2, 2011 at 2:54 pm
      Nice attempt to be funny.Murphy tries hard also.He is actually much funnier than you are without even trying.You both have the same baseball iq.Non existent.I am not proud about spending time blogging about the Mets.YOU ARE BLOGGING ABOUT ME!Get a life you pathetic waste of skin.
  8. Joe Janish August 2, 2011 at 5:33 pm
    Hey hey hey! Both of you please keep the comments aimed at the underachieving millionaires on the field rather than each other. Ideally this is a place where we can engage in arguments about the Mets, not a place where we criticize each other.